Growth Equity – Is Crowdfunding the Answer?

Crowdfunding is gaining a lot of press.  The SEC has finally come out with proposed rules and regulations to allow companies to raise growth equity through crowdfunding.  But is that the answer for most entrepreneurs in search of capital? It’s very important to distinguish between “investment crowdfunding” and “direct investor solicitation”.   Most people think of Kickstarter or similar web sites when thinking of “crowdfunding”.  On these sites, an entrepreneur may raise some capital as donations, giving investors back product or other promotions, but not equity in the company.  Generally the amounts raised are small. “Investment crowdfunding” rules were just issued by the SEC in October and won’t be effective until May 2016.  In investment crowdfunding, companies will be able to raise up to $1 million per year, and unaccredited as well as accredited investors can participate. While that’s a move forward and will surely seed a lot of companies, …

Fed to Investors: Economy So Bad, We Can’t Raise Rates 0.25%

When the Fed announced that rates will continue to be Zero, the stock market soared — for about an hour and then plunged.  Today down another 200+points. Why?  Real simple — The Fed actually said that the world’s economy is so fragile that a meaningless rate increase of 0.25% was potentially a real problem.  And I’ll give them credit for being right about this — had the Fed raised rates, the Dow probably would have been down 500 points instantaneously. Someone sent me this picture a couple of days back — and if a picture is worth 1,000 words, this one is probably what weighted on the Fed.                               This is downright depressing.  In the last 7 years, food stamp use has soared, as has the federal debt, the amount of money printed, student loans (which …

Greece: Potential Implication to Selling Your Business

If you’re like me, you’re tired of hearing about Greece and how this tiny part of the EU is upsetting equity and debt markets worldwide.  But if want to sell your business in 2015 or 2016, then you need to be alert to what’s happening beneath the headlines. As I write this today, the equity and debt markets are the strongest and most available since early 2007.  Private equity and corporate cash is at record levels and we are seeing more interest in good deals than perhaps at any time in the last 10+ years.  Debt is plentiful, cheap and relatively easy to get.  Prices are at or near record levels for private companies. Simply put … this may be the best time in at least 10 years to sell. But that could change in an instant.  If we take a look under the covers of the financial markets and …

3 Keys to Expanding Your Company Vision

Working with successful entrepreneurs is a blast.  Yet if I step back a moment and reflect on the #1 thing that most entrepreneurs fall short – it is vision.  Entrepreneurs often need to expand their company vision. Let me explain.  When running a business, what is the focus of the CEO when he/she wakes up?  We think about what needs to be done today.  We prioritize in our mind, or on paper … these are the 5 or 10 things that we need to accomplish today. Is there any vision for the future on that list? No.  The vision for the business is typically something focused on at the early stages, and from time to time over a glass of wine.  It’s more dreaming than vision.  It’s a little like, “what do you want to be when you grow up” vision. Entrepreneurs rarely set aside serious time to think … …

Is a 9 to 1 Increase in Company Valuation Acceptable?

If we could work with you to increase the value of your company by $1,000,000, would it bother you if we were paid $100,000? And we don’t want to get paid until you get paid, so we’re not asking to get paid on some theoretical increase in value, but an increase that comes from a recapitalization or sale transaction. In fact, if we increased your value by $10,000,000 – would you really care about the $1,000,000 we would be paid. If you’re smart, wouldn’t you want us to get paid $5,000,000? The way we look at this is that you get 9x what we get, yet we are in a joint venture / partnership where we assist your company. If we yield zero value, we get zero. If we help you create value, we get 10% of the increase – not 10% of what your company is already worth – …

Medway Air Ambulance – A Home Run

It’s my pleasure to announce that Medway Air Ambulance has completed a recapitalization resulting in a significant liquidity event for its owner, and a growth capital infusion by Merit Capital Partners and American Working Capital. In just over two years, we worked with Rick Moore, Medway’s CEO, to double the revenue, more than double the profitability and increase equity value by more than 5x. After the recapitalization, Rick continues to own a significant piece of the company and remains CEO. It is my personal expectation that Medway can double its revenue again over the next three years, and potentially triple over the next five years. It has been great to work with Rick and to assist him in adding the financial discipline, debt financing and to jointly create a growth vision for the company. When we first talked about a joint venture in 2012, he thought I was crazy … …